The Inspired Room

Refining Your Home for Authentic Living™

You are cordially invited October 31, 2007

Filed under: Holidays & Entertaining — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 10:20 pm

Don’t forget to come by Friday for

The Inspired Room blog’s 100th post extravaganza

and satellite holiday party

with the French-inspired boutique The Blissful!

What Is It: A Big Thank You for hanging out at The Inspired Room!

When Is It: Friday November 2, 2007 – Saturday November 3, 2007

Where Is It: Here at The Inspired Room blog (it is a virtual party!)

What Do I Bring: Please bring a favorite hors d’oeuvre

or hostess gift idea for our comments

All guests who bring an idea Friday-Saturday

will be entered into the 100th post giveaway!

P.S. If you would like to be a BFF, all you have to do is invite friends to join you at the party by an invitation on your blog (just give them the dates and link, no need to get fancy!)! You’ll get bonus entries in the main drawing AND be entered into the BFF drawing! Let me know here if you are attempting BFF status. Few will attempt it, but the reward will be tasty for the lucky winner! No pressure, I’ll still like you if you don’t attempt BFF status.

Party begins on Friday! Winners will be announced Monday!

In the meantime, don’t miss another exciting party and awesome giveaway happening now over at My Melange!

photo credit: Better Homes & Gardens




A Frightful Day

Filed under: Holidays & Entertaining — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 10:42 am



Downsizing Your Home With Style October 30, 2007

Filed under: Authentic Living,Decorating Inspiration,Organization — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 5:08 pm
Tags: ,

I am a small house person. I am! Even though I have always dreamed of Old World mansions, castles and I currently live in a not-so-small house of 4300 square feet, still I am a small house person at heart. I like to be cozy and snug as a bug. I love the feeling of being in control of my house and not having my house in control of me. Bigger houses mean more stuff, more heat, more painting, more cleaning, more everything. And more is not always a good thing, contrary to popular belief. Remember the saying Less is More ? Good advice.

Lots of people these days are following that motto and trying to live a life of less. Less junk, less clutter, less stress and less house. So how do you downsize your world when you’ve spent your life accumulating stuff? I can tell you from personal experience, I downsized at one point many years ago from a larger house to a 1900 square foot English cottage and it was a complete disaster. I had stuff out on my lawn that wouldn’t even fit in the front door of my new home. So embarrassing! I was selling stuff for cheap just to clear the yard before the rains came. Eventually I worked my way through my stuff and found great delight at having only what I needed in my little nest. I learned a big lesson, planning your space before you downsize is essential. I had to learn the hard way, downsizing requires some careful thought!

If I had only had a guide to helping me with my move I could’ve have saved myself countless headaches and lots of money trying to make my big house stuff fit into my little house walls. This is why I am pleased to announce the release of a new book that is certain to help anyone through this difficult and emotional process.

I had the pleasure of speaking to interior designer and author Lauri Ward recently about her new book, DOWNSIZING YOUR HOME WITH STYLE: LIVING WELL IN A SMALLER SPACE. This handy book would be perfect for just about anyone wanting to live with less, from homeowners squeezing into a tiny apartment, to families who want to downsize from the stress of a large home, to people wanting to plan a second home on a small scale, or even for people just wanting to have less to manage in their current home. Empty-nesters and not-so-empty-nesters alike will find tried and true principles to get them through the challenges. Downsizing doesn’t have to mean losing your style either. In fact, when you do this right, you can end up with even more style with less stuff. I like that idea.

The author of several best-selling books, Lauri Ward, is known for her common sense approach to stylish interiors. The founder of Use What You Have® Interiors in New York, Lauri revolutionized the interior design business in 1981 with a simple concept, using what people already have in their homes as a foundation for a more stylish, comfortable and updated room without spending a lot of money. Lauri is widely recognized as the pioneer of the groundbreaking redesign approach to affordable interior decorating.

As a way to bring her unique philosophy to people around the world, Lauri founded the Interior Refiners Network®, a professional organization comprised of Interior Refiners she has personally trained and mentored with proven design principles and methods. Lauri has appeared on The Today Show, Oprah Winfrey and HGTV as well as countless other programs and publications. She is also a contributing home design expert at iVillage.

I am fortunate to have been trained by Lauri and be a part of her incredible organization of women who help clients take the stress, expense and mystery out of interior design and help them to find beauty in what they already have. It is my privilege to recommend this book to you, knowing that it too will help countless people learn to use what they have more effectively to create beautiful and livable homes. Figuring out ways to have less stuff and more style sounds good to me, I just might get inspired to move back into a tiny cottage. Less is more, and this book will help you find the perfect balance.

“Ward offers helpful advice for a difficult problem–how to pare and purge if you plan to downsize, then stylishly rearrange what’s left. ” – Chicago Tribune

Photo descriptions and credit: Real-life homeowners and solutions to make the best of less space as featured in the new book (click to go to Downsizing Your Home with Style: Living Well In a Smaller Space


Extravaganza, festivities and more October 28, 2007

Filed under: Creative Inspiration & Projects,Holidays & Entertaining — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 7:08 pm

I am glad you all enjoyed the home tour! I added a couple of extra photos on this post for your enjoyment. I think I can safely say we are all crazy for Sunday drives through the neighborhoods! One of my friends always calls them “Drive Bys” but I think that sounds a little violent! LOL! We are just looking and shooting our cameras, not endangering their lives with weapons !

From now on our home tours will be a regular feature for us here, snooping around to find the coolest houses ever! I’ll be on the lookout for some Christmas front porches too as the season gets under way! I always go on some holiday Christmas tours inside of houses, but I have a feeling photography of interiors might be a no no. We’ll see what I can do!

So, this week we are going to kick off the holiday season with a bang! This Friday, November 2, I hope you will join me for my 100th post extravaganza! Just to make it super fun (well, that is the idea anyways so humor me here!), we are going to be setting up our own satellite party to coincide with the holiday festivities going on at The Blissful! Oh, yeah! While they are partying in Ohio, we’ll be partying at The Inspired Room blog. Hopefully we will get to peek in on The Blissful party and just have a great time getting in the holiday spirit. Maybe I’ll show some more holiday ideas from my house, too.

So start thinking of your favorite hors d’oeuvre, beverage or perfect hostess gift ideas to bring along to the party, because that is your ticket to get in! And if you invite your friends via your blog, all the better, you get BIG bonus points for that. Especially if you show your holiday party outfit on your blog (link from my comments so we can visit too!), so we know what you are wearing to the festivities! You do all those things and you are my BFF and I give bonus points in the drawing for BFFs. But, if you can’t manage the BFF thing, come by anyways! I’ll still like you. Come in your jeans and bring Velveeta if you want.

We’ll have a giveaway or two, including the mystery gift from The Blissful ( I am truly making this up as I go along so bear with me! ) and get pumped up about the holidays! I can’t wait! Mark your calendars for November 2, so you won’t forget! I’ll be putting out a few more posts before then too so stick around. Maybe you’ll sneak a peek at the mystery gift before Friday!

In other news, I have a couple of people to thank for awards, one goes to Plum Water Cottage for a You Make Me Smile Award and the other to Nunnie’s Attic for the Spirit of Christmas award. Thank you both so much for thinking of me, you are both so sweet! I haven’t yet had a chance to put together a list of folks to pass it along to, but I did want to acknowledge the awards before more time passes and you all think I am pathetic for not playing along! I’m just slow. I also have been tagged for a meme by Jacaranda Cottage (aka Cottage Contessa), which I will get working on too!

Also, I want to thank {this is glamorous} for spending the weekend finding the perfect craft for me! Clearly she was worried and didn’t want me to fall flat on my face trying to make an elaborate craft for my Pay It Forward project, and was determined to find something suitable! Thank goodness people watch out for me! What a sweetheart, I really appreciate it! I owe her big time now. I’m so excited, I’m gonna give her idea a try and you can all laugh at my attempt! It does look easy though, so maybe I’ll set up my own shop soon!

I also want to thank everyone who submitted ideas for easy crafts, I will announce the bonus winner of my craft giveaway this Friday along with our other festivities! TTFN!


Sweet Escape: Fairytale Houses October 25, 2007

When I was a kid one of my favorite things to do on a Sunday afternoon was to have my parents take me for a drive through neighborhoods to look at houses. Even at a young age, I was fascinated by charming homes. I guess I was a weird kid! We’d slowly wind up and down streets, gazing at front porches, doorways, windows, shutters, lanterns, all the things that make houses look inviting. Sometimes we’d drive through massive gates to get a closer look at a mansion, before getting scared off by giant dogs!

So, because my dream of a sweet escape has always been lovely homes, even more than traveling to far off lands (although in recent years traveling has become more and more intriguing while the upkeep of those dreamy houses is slowly losing its appeal!), today we are escaping through a few of the neighborhoods I grew up in or lived in during my adult years.

I’ve been privileged to live in beautiful neighborhoods that satisfied my romantic fairytale ideals of my youth! Enjoy the festive fall decor and your Sunday afternoon Drive By!

This one (below) was my parents house when my kids were younger:


A Martha Moment & Giveaway October 24, 2007

Filed under: Creative Inspiration & Projects,Holidays & Entertaining — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 10:08 pm
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Ok, now girls (do I have any guy readers? I think not, or they are too afraid to admit it), you KNOW I am not crafty. You know it. There is no hiding that fact. I don’t knit, sew, glue or stitch. However, I did have a proud moment to share with you. Now, I know this is going to seem SO shameless and self-serving to share this, but since my crafty moments are so far and few between I hope you will indulge me in this one moment of crafty glory.

So I am pouring over my coveted copy of Victoria Magazine, drooling over each and every romantically delightful page. When suddenly I see MY CRAFT IDEA from a page in my blog duplicated in the glorious pages of Victoria! Now granted, it is not my photo. And they used different fruit and a fresh wreath, which is obviously so much better, but I didn’t have a fresh wreath in September nor did I have those exact fruits.

Point is, I thought my idea was ridiculously too simple for it to be worthy of mention in such an esteemed place as Victoria! But now that I see it there, I am thinking hey, watch out Martha, there is a new crafty goddess in town! My self-esteem is soaring and and I have a new attitude. Give me a call, Victoria if you need any further ideas. I will see what I can whip up for the next issue. Stay tuned for The Inspired Room, the craft blog of a domestic genius. This could be good!

Since my inner domestic diva is now awakening to its fullest potential, my new friend Erin at Design for Mankind has asked me, ok she begged me, to participate in a little Pay It Forward craftiness and you know I need more to do in life so I’ve agreed. Here’s the deal, don’t all rush for my comments at once because I KNOW you will want a handmade gift from me, you need to read this first:

I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, that is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog. If anyone is interested in joining in, I will send a handmade gift to the first three to leave a comment with their promise to pay it forward.

Because I know that everyone will want to receive a handmade gift from me (everyone needs a good laugh now and then), and only three will have this privilege, blech, I’m gonna make you a deal. IF you leave me a comment here with a link to a SIMPLE BUT GLORIOUSLY WONDERFUL HOMEMADE GIFT IDEA that EVEN I COULD DO, one of you at random will also get the gift. You don’t have to participate in the pay it forward to be included in the bonus gift. (And don’t forget, my BIG 100th POST GIVEAWAY is coming up soon!)

I need help people! This is a desperate cry for help! Don’t desert me now!

UPDATE: We have two eager crafters and one dreading the idea like me! Hooray! So, we have our crafty three! But, we STILL NEED IDEAS ! Especially Julie and I, the pathetic non-crafters. We need simple ideas, lightweight (cheap for mailing!), and super cute. So, keep the ideas coming or Julie and I will be up a creek! Remember, one lucky idea giver will receive one of my crafts, and if that isn’t enough to make you comment here, I don’t know what is.

Wreath photo #1 from Victoria Magazine, wreath # 2 is my own creation, other photos from Martha Stewart and JCrew


A Blissful Day October 22, 2007

Filed under: Authentic Living,Domesticity — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 5:43 pm
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Well, well, well, my dearies, I do have some things to share! Do you see what is in that photo? Yes, something very very blissful indeed. My new Victoria Magazine came, FINALLY. Hip Hip Hooray! But that wasn’t the only bliss my mail person brought today. No, no, no…I had a little box at my doorstop. The one in the photo marked THE BLISSFUL. Remember my little introduction to my tres chic friend and her formidable boutique The Blissful? If you missed it, check out the post here! Well, not only has Abby indulged me with a special gift, bless her heart, she has sent one along for YOU as well! YES! In that box, wrapped up in tissue is a French delight for the winner of my 100th post give-a-way! I took a peek at it and it is TOO DIE FOR. The most chic of accessories and I know you will want it for yourself. Want to know what it is? All in good time, my pretties! All in good time.

Also, I want to thank each of you who shared your thoughts on domesticity on my last post and in personal emails. If you didn’t comment yet on that, feel free to still add your thoughts here. Not everyone desires to knit or make quince jelly (I am one of them, although I could be tempted if I knew what quince jelly was!), but I think most of us creative women have a heart for our home and how we want our life to be. How to balance the demands of this crazy world with the simple joy of creating a home is something many of us wrestle with. We’ll talk about it more soon. I am no Martha Stewart, that is quite obvious, but I too want a little Martha moment here and there. I want it all! I may not be able to tie a French knot while making pate brisee like my friend Alicia, but we don’t all have to define domestic bliss in the same way. We can pick and choose what works for us and just visit Alicia for everything else. I’m just jokin’ with ya, she is more down to earth than anyone, she just happens to be a domestic goddess (and a blogging wonder woman) and I love her for that.

Alrighty, a few more things to share with you! Speaking of Domestic Genius, here is the kind of thing all of us have to do AT LEAST ONCE in our life. To keep us humble. A little mix up between the hand washing dish soap and the machine dish washing dish soap. Luckily I was in the room when I noticed the soap coming out the bottom of the cabinet and flowing across the floor. It could’ve been much worse had I not been there to stop the cycle. Let’s just say it wasn’t me this time. Really! It wasn’t. I know a Domestic Goddess would not do something like this.

Lastly, I wanted to share a sneak peek of my in process dining room makeover! It isn’t all the way done, painting is not done, not everything is on the walls and set in place yet, but just because I want to keep it real here, so you can see I am still working on it! Little by little, the way working women have to operate! One way I try to have it all in life is I don’t obsess too much about the choices in decorating. I love it, but it usually just has to come together using what I have or what I can find for a deal. If I have to plan it out too much, forget it. I don’t have time! I want it to look good but I have a life full of things to do and decorating is only one of them. I want to get on with USING the dining room!

You can kind of see in the mirror my cute chandelier shades from Tuesday Morning, a red toile with gold liner. One of the light bulbs is burned out, typical! Anyways, found all 12 of them in one day, that is a miracle in itself. They set the stage for the room and I went from there. Then you can see my new yellow/gold curtains also reflected in the mirror. I am hanging a collection of mirrors over the buffet to brighten things up across from the window and it has really helped. I have the funkiest combed plaster walls and ceiling, and I am keeping them antique white because I would be nauseated if they were a color. They have enough going on in their texture, they don’t need color to add any more pizazz. So, color has to come from everything else. I am probably eventually going to paint the wainscoting a palest buttery yellow. It is a pretty big room, with a baby grand piano in one corner. I will reveal a full room shot soon!

Stay tuned, more info on the 100th post extravaganza, more decorating and Christmas ideas, and a few more surprises headed your way! OH! And fungi, I am definitely finding a way to include fungi. I want everyone to feel at home here and if fungi is hip for decorating in some circles, we are going to have fungi. I’m working on it.